BY ALAN CALVERT
BOLTON and District Table Tennis League is looking for new teams.
The 2017-18 season starts in September and the time for action is now.
Those out of the loop (maybe a familiar term to some former players) might not know that “TT” still thrives around here, involving players of all ages and abilities.
At the lower levels there can be few sporting activities that can pitch 15-year-olds against a team of 70-plus oldsters with the outcome in doubt.
But some gaps have opened up in the Bolton league and there is room for former players or those who enjoy the game socially to get together and enter three-person teams.
This thought prompted me to thumb through some old league handbooks and remember some of the firms and youth clubs that ran teams in the early days of the Bolton Evening News TT club I helped to establish in the 1972/73 season.
We did battle against the likes of Burton’s, Barton Townley, Bolton Gate, the YMCA, Silcom’s, the Post Office, Watson’s, Metal Box, Royal Insurance, Fairclough’s, Marston’s and the Recreation Club.
The following year our opponents included Victoria Hall, Emmanuel, Castle Street, Chorley Old Road, Wigglesworth’s, Brownlow Fold, Markland Scowcroft, Bolton Lads club and Bolton Ambulance.
Most of these employers and organisations have gone and those that remain no longer have table tennis teams. Nor do the larger firms that still exist in Bolton with enough space to accommodate a table for use by workers during breaks.
Is there any reason why this sort of thing should not become fashionable once more?
What has happened to the regular supply of good young players from some of the youth clubs which still operate in the Bolton area?
Society might well have changed, but there is a lot to be said for a sport that gives youngsters a purpose and gives old folk encouragement to take some exercise and get out of the house more. This is a game for all ages, including those who might want to relieve work-related tension by smashing a small white ball.
*New teams wishing to take part in the Bolton league next season need to complete an application form available from the General Secretary, Roy Caswell. Tel: 01204 845642/07985 311863. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org The league’s website is www.tabletennis365.com/Bolton